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** It's all about the strawberries, FoodLover!

Saturday morning was PYO heaven! The Chief Taster and her visiting mom very happily picked/ate our share of peas while I spent practically no time at all in the strawberry field filling our share for the week. Seriously. I have never seen so many ripe, gorgeous berries on every single plant. I didn't even have to walk down to the far end of the patch. Two steps out of the car and 10 minutes later my quarts were full!

So, what to do with yet another batch of berries? Cocktails and cake, of course! The cocktail I mentioned last week got made again (and again!) as well as a new cake recipe that unintentionally tasted strikingly similar to Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries. Think yummy memories of childhood minus the all the artificial colors, flavors and other nasties. This cake was pure nature, baby! Check out recipes for both below this week's CSA rundown.

Week three CSA: Salanova Lettuce Garlic scapes Zucchini Interchangeable with summer squash. I’ll talk more about this later in the season because even if you don’t have a CSA you’ll probably have a gardener in your life who tries to unload some overgrown zucchini later in the summer when it starts to take over their garden! Lacinato kale I love kale, all kinds, but this is my go-to variety because it's the easiest to prepare. Its leaves are flatter and smoother than green or red curly kale and the Chief Taster loves a chiffonaded (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=7ffd55cdd2&e=0ab9ec18fb) kale salad so lacinato kale is the best choice for that. A quick search on kale varieties brought up some very conflicting opinions so I will throw mine into the mix: don’t take anything you read about kale as absolute truth (good advice for all foods, really). No one variety is always more bitter vs. sweet or always better cooked vs. raw. Lacinato is considered the sweetest, most tender kale but I’ve gotten some tough, bitter bunches and I’ve also gotten lots of curly kale that was tender and delicious raw. All veggies will vary depending on where they’re grown, the time of year, and how you prepare them. Radishes Thinly sliced into a green salad is nice but kind of boring, right? There are so many other delicious ways to use radishes and if you’re put off by their bite, pair them with cheese (a couple of the recipes below suggest ricotta or burratta, both sound so yummy!) or do as the French and serve them raw with some unsalted butter (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=1af03bfd83&e=0ab9ec18fb) . Check out some of these recipes: http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=2efb306094&e=0ab9ec18fb http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=02e27b039d&e=0ab9ec18fb Cucumber It’s the first pickling cukes of the year!!! These are the best, most crunchy, wonderful little treats, nothing like an English cucumber or a slicing cuke. More on those varieties here (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=75fc6e6fb4&e=0ab9ec18fb) . Besides eating them as is or with a little salt & pepper I still love them the way my mother made them every summer of my childhood: sliced and mixed with sour cream, garlic and salt. Feel free to sub yogurt for the sour cream and/or toss in some herbs. You can’t mess this one up! Salad mix The mix tastes different every time: sometimes sweeter, sometimes peppery, more delicate, more crunchy, but always so darn good. I like to really taste these so they usually get dressed in no more than lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Thanks, FoodLover, for reading. Head on over to our blog (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=7bbbd21d08&e=0ab9ec18fb) to join the conversation and please share (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=287020f542) with all the FoodLovers you know! Cocktail: strawberry honey elderflower

A quick note about my cocktail recipes: all ingredients are given in parts as opposed to ounces or tablespoons. Why do I do this? Well, it makes more sense to me because I think of ingredients in terms of how they balance each other but it also makes it super easy to multiply any recipe. The part I tend to use for a single drink is one ounce. Want to make four drinks? Use four ounces for each part but then make it in a pitcher because it won't fit in a cocktail shaker!

2 parts Barr Hill gin (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=28db8594b2&e=0ab9ec18fb) 1 part St. Germain liqueur (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=127186f27a&e=0ab9ec18fb) 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 part honey simple syrup 3-4 fresh local strawberries

Muddle strawberries in cocktail shaker until well mashed. Add all other ingredients, shake well. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass if you're feeling fancy or pour the whole shebang into your favorite tumbler for a drink that stays cold longer and gets a little diluted towards the end, which is kind of nice on a warm evening sitting outside.

Honey simple syrup: mix equal parts honey ( local, raw (http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=d5b7969cc8&e=0ab9ec18fb) is the most flavorful) and warm water. Stir until completely combined. Chill before using. One ounce each honey and water will give you enough for two cocktails and any extra can be stored in the fridge for next time!

Mocktail version: leave out the liquor, use six berries, add two ounces seltzer water. If you have it, add some orange blossom water.

So, what's this thing called? "Retirement" in honor of a friend and reader who recently retired from her teaching career and who is one of our favorite people to have cocktails with. Cheers!

Cake: strawberry pistachio with rosewater glaze

Dry ingredients: 3 cups flour 3/4 cup ground pistachios 1 Tbs baking soda 1/2 tsp salt Wet ingredients: 3/4 cup oil 3/4 cups puréed strawberries (purée 1 cup and reserve 1/4 cup for glaze) 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 eggs Add-in: 2 cups chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a bundt pan. Combine all dry ingredients in one bowl. Add all wet ingredients to bowl of standing mixer (or large mixing bowl if using hand mixer). Beat on low 2 minutes. Slowly add dry ingredients until combined. Beat on low 1 minute. Add chopped strawberries, mix until incorporated. Scrape into bundt pan. Bake for one hour or until skewer (or toothpick or piece of spaghetti) inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 mins. Carefully turn out onto plate. Allow to cool before glazing.

Glaze: strawberry rosewater 1/4 cup strawberry purée 2 cups confectioners sugar 4 drops rosewater (use 1/2 tsp vanilla extract if you don't have it) Garnish: 1/4 cup shelled pistachios 2 cups whole strawberries

Whisk glaze ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle back and forth or in circles over cake until gone. Top with garnishes and enjoy! Hi! I'm Tonianne, food evangelist and creator of FoodLove. That's me happy as can be, cooking for friends on a camping trip, and sharing wonderful conversation about – yup, you guessed it! – food. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the conversation, too. PHOTO CREDIT: D. SHEA

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